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M1 vs S1 in Year 12

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by briceanus, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    Over the last 7 years, we've delivered either M1 or S1 in year 12, and the other in year 13 (staffing, timetabling etc). This is across a variety of staff, a variety of group sizes, and a variety of class ability.
    What I've found is that M1 in year 12 gets far lower scores than S1 in year 12 (15 - 25 marks!). The subsequent applied module in year 13 is then higher (as expected), but there is no longer any significant difference between M1 and S1.
    Do others find any such patterns, whether data driven or anecdotal? What do others do to support M1 in year 12 that perhaps isn't requied for S1.
    Any info/thoughts would be useful, as we are planning to run M1 in year 12 again this year, and I'm looking at how to overcome this trend.
  2. We do S1 in the L6th and M1 in the U6th because for those also studying Physics they have done more of the overlapping mechanics by the U6th which tends to improve their results. As the S1 doesn't overlap with anything else it seemed more natural to do it in the L6th...
    Maybe it is the physics overlap is what causes the discrepancy you are seeing?
  3. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Concur with OP. Used to do M1 then S1 - led to poor AS results. Swapped. Much improved AS results, much better retention from Yr12 to Yr13.

  4. No one has stated when in year 12 they are putting the kids in for these exams. January or May?
  5. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    S1 Summer Yr 12, M1 Jan Yr13 - gives them a chance to retake. Used to do it the other way round (same sessions) with worse outcomes.
  6. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. We too enter for exams in the summer of the year the course is studied. The physics aspect may be a factor, but the poor M1 is across students taking and not taking physics.
    Googol, did you uncover any specific reason for poor M1, or just switch to S1 and things improved?
    We're going to do another year of M1 in year 12 and then S1 in Year 13, but really focus on monitoring progress.
    As for current 12s going in to 13, will need to reduce drop-outs, and may need to encourage a few re-sits (grrr).
  7. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I would say that M1 demands a higher level of mathematical sophistication than S1. By the end of Year 13, concepts such as Calculus and Vectors should be more secure, as will Algebra. Also, the weaker students are likely to drop out at the end of Year 12. S1 doesn't use the harder Core techniques, and quite a lot of it is very similar to GCSE, so is easier to do in Year 12. We allow the students to choose their modules, but if we didn't, I would want to do S1 in 12, M1 in 13.
  8. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I think students find S1 more approachable in Yr 12. In year 13, the additional confidence with Core topics and the fact that the Physicists have done more work allows Mechanics to sink in more successfully. Granted, not all students do Physics, but there is no telling how the confidence of the few can rub off on others. I neglected to mention in my previous post that, results for the M1 unit sat in Year 13 were much improved - but, then, several weaker students have dropped maths by then.
    Personally, I don't much get along with statistics, and find mechanics much easier... But then, maybe that's just me...
  9. Bottom line, I think, is that resolving forces and taking moments is one of the most difficult topics at A-level. It seems to me that a lot of the difficulty is hidden by having such cookie-cutter questions that it's possible to learn what to do by rote.
    But if you want to understand it, it takes quite a while. Personally, I remember taking longer to learn M1 than M2-M5 combined. (Strictly speaking: on the old London Syllabus B exam system, I took longer on the "resolving forces/taking moments" chapters than the rest of the M/FM applied content put together).
    It's amusing that there are quite a few STEP III mechanics questions that only require resolving and taking moments.

  10. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    Different question, but related:
    Do people think the choice of application has an effect on pure performance? I'm inclined to think that the extra algebra and trig in mechanics should give a boost to pure maths scores, but I don't know in the results back it up. Also, how do people find pure scores compare with application scores? We taught Core 2 and M1 both entirely in the spring term, getting roughly equal results (though individuals were all over the shop), is this about what you'd expect?
  11. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I can't speak for other syllabi, but M1 from OCR MEI doesn't include taking moments - that comes in at M2.. Truly, I don't understand why students find it all so difficult....
  12. Students seem to struggle with where to take moments. If at all possible I try to choose several points to show that they can all work. If that isn't possible I try to get students to work through and find the problem of why only one point will work for themselves.
    Resolving forces is slightly different in that students get confused about which direction the forces are acting. I get students to work out very simple forces and show them why some are negative etc. Most of my students are taught a rote way of expressing the individual forces and have no real idea why this is done.
  13. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    Thanks again for replies.
    We like to do M1 in yr12 so we can offer S1 or M2 in Yr13. We are limited on S2 staff so can't offer S1 then either M1 or S2 (has to be S1 then M1)
    So, it will be M1 for Yr12 this year, and I'll report back on success or not of really close monitoring

    ps. where IS Beta?
  14. DM

    DM New commenter

    Perhaps he was one of these teacher rioters who was sent down for a long stretch?
  15. Sorry: I'd checked Edexcel to see what was in M1, and assumed it would be the same for other boards. Although resolving on it's own is still a tricky topic, I'd say.

    (On the other hand, I'd say that once you have that down, everything else in the mechanics modules is "just maths", which I somewhat prefer to all the "Poisson can be used as an approximation for binomial when n>10 and np is less than 5" (or whatever the rule is) stuff you need to remember for the stats modules).
  16. Does anyone take S1 in January and C1 and C2 in June? Do you feel this works better than C1 in January and the other two in June? Thanks.

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